Debra Messing to Topline Starz White House Comedy

Debra Messing - Getty - H 2020
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Debra Messing has found her follow-up to Will & Grace.

The Emmy winner will star in a comedy project called East Wing that's in development at Starz. The show comes from Lionsgate Television and creators Ali Wentworth (who will also appear on camera) and Liz Tuccillo and draws from the experiences of Wentworth's mother, who served as social secretary in the White House during the Reagan administration.

Messing will play Hollis Carlisle, a hostess extraordinaire who has to balance her threatened husband, rebellious children, Nancy Reagan's chief of staff and a crippling social anxiety disorder.

"The charm and relatability Debra brings to every character she inhabits will captivate audiences once again as she brings Hollis to life on the screen," said Christina Davis, president original programming for Starz. "This is a whip-smart comedy that despite its 1980s set dressing, is a pointed commentary on politics and the politics of being a woman today that will be a valuable addition to our slate of premium programming by and for women. Debra, Ali and Liz will most definitely not be pulling any punches."

Added Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs, "Debra is a singular talent with whom we've had the honor of working in the past, and we couldn't be more excited to reunite with Ali to bring her mother's incredible story to viewers. Ali, Debra and Liz are shepherding a witty and empowering series right in the wheelhouse of our Starz premium platform."

Wentworth will recur in the potential series as Kelly Forbes, Hollis' best friend and a stay-at-home mom who feels threatened by Hollis' success. East Wing marks a reunion for Wentworth with both Starz — where she created and starred in Head Case from 2007-09 — and Lionsgate, which produced her Pop TV series Nightcap in 2016-17.

Wentworth and Tuccillo (Divorce, Sex and the City) executive produce East Wing with Messing and 3 Arts Entertainment's Howard Klein and Molly Madden.

Messing is repped by 3 Arts, Gersh and Goodman Genow. Wentworth is repped by ICM Partners and Hansen Jacobson, and Tuccillo is with Felker Toczek.

Starz is expanding its comedy footprint after having a drama-heavy slate of originals in the past few years. It has greenlit eight episodes of Run the World from Dear White People showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser and is developing a sequel to Weeds from parent company Lionsgate, which produced the Showtime series.